The PPSEAWA Japan, Tokyo chapter, held the International Peace Day meeting at the Tuda Hall in Tokyo on September 17th, 2009. Over twenty-five people attended the meeting. This year first time a member from the Active Senior, a collaborating partner organization, also participated the meeting to share the value of world peace with us.
First, Machiko Yanagishita, Peace Ambassador of PPSEAWA Japan, made a brief opening note on today's challenging global situation of peace. Then, Ms. Kazuko Kano, a President of PPSEAWA Japan, called for each participant a one-minute silent prayer, pressing our continuous efforts to pursue PPSEAWA's goal of making a peaceful world.
Then, Ms. Michiko Honma, Vice President of PPSEAWA Japan, warmly introduced the speaker of this year, Ms. Fusako Yanase, President of Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR). Ms. Yanase gave a lecturer titled, "From the field of international development cooperation - Not Mines, But Flowers." Her lecture covered a wide range of activities AAR in Asian and African countries. Her special focus was on the plight of many children whose lands are still far from mine-free. The AAR is providing scholarship, wheel chairs, and mine casualties and risk education to them, among many other programs. The AAR's activities also include the funding for the removal and monitoring of landmines, supporting disabled people, and landmine victims to run a wheelchair factory. The revenue of the AAR is ¥700 million, funded by the United Nations, the Japanese government, private-sector corporations, and concerned individuals' donation which totals as much as half of the total revenue. Her experience of dedicated field work gave attendants a better understanding and insights to the importance and difficulty of oversea cooperation programs. Ms. Yanase also showed a video, in part featured the founder of AAR, Ms. Yukika Soma, who was a well-known peace and women activist in Japan. Lecture was well received among attendants. Following discussion and question session was lively.
Next, participants got together and read the message for world peace written by Issei Miyake, an internationally well-known clothing designer. Mr. Miyake is a survivor of atomic bomb, but until recently he has kept it secret, since he did not want to be labeled "the designer who survived the atomic bomb." However, he was deeply inspired by the President Obama's Prague speech in which he called for global eradication of nuclear weapons; Mr. Miyake contributed a peace message to the New York Times this summer. At the Peace Day meeting, five PASSEAWA members participated in reading it out in Japanese, and four other members in English.
The last, all participants sang a song, "One Pencil." Ms. Yasue Miyata, a PPSEAWA member, introduced the song and accompanied all on the piano. At the end, Peace Ambassador made a closing note, and meeting was adjourned.